Health and education of children with albinism in Zimbabwe

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Albinism is a relatively common genetic condition in Zimbabwe, a tropical country in southern Africa. Those affected have little pigment in their hair, skin or eyes, in sharp contrast to the normal dark pigmentation. This article describes the responses to a self-report questionnaire covering health, social and educational aspects completed by 138 schoolchildren with albinism living in rural areas of Zimbabwe. They reported persistent skin and a myriad of eye problems. Relationships between siblings appeared good, although problems of antagonism, avoidance and fear were encountered among strangers. Knowledge about albinism was patchy; pupils were keen to be better informed. This research highlights the need for widespread dissemination of accurate information about the genetics and health management of albinism to counter the many myths and misconceptions surrounding this condition. A management programme to promote the health and education of these children in southern Africa is proposed. In conclusion, this study indicated that pupils with albinism could participate in mainstream education, with appropriate intervention to help them manage the problems associated with their low vision and sensitive skins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
JournalHealth Education Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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